On this trip we visited the valley where a Tang Dynasty leader and his followers created an inter-connected series of cave dwellings after fleeing from a coup The visit to the valley of the caves involves a short, easy walk that is suitable for children. Afterwards, we visited Yongning Town and took a look at its ancient tower and the old Catholic church there.
Nobody is certain exactly who made the cave dwellings, but the best guess at the moment is that they were first started on during the Tang Dynasty (618–907). They were carved from the sandstone cliffs that enclose the valley and are extensive and well-designed, connected by tunnels and stairways, and feature traditional wood heated beds, temples, meeting rooms, and animal shelters (on the lower levels). Most of the rooms are three to four cubic meters in size, and some are high up on the cliff face.
In the town of Yongning, we visited the local open air market with its spices, fruit, and miscellaneous wares, as well as the large Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) tower at the center of town and the beautiful Catholic church nearby, which was founded during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).